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The humanistic approach to personality

The humanistic approach to personality

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The humanistic approach to personality

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  1. The humanistic approach to personality

  2. Humanistic psychology • A strong reaction to both behaviorism and psychodynamics • We make conscious decisions about the direction of our lives • We look forward, not controlled by a past history of reinforcement/punishment or repressed trauma

  3. Discards the limits of behaviorism – no experiments • Denies the negativity of psychodynamics – we are, at our core, good and striving to get better • Focuses on our natural progress towards fully developing our potential

  4. Abraham Maslow • Initially sold on behaviorism • Questioned when he read Freud • Everything changed after the birth of his first child, he looked beyond both • Decided that we spend too much time on the mentally ill to understand mental health • Focus on the strong. Want to run fast? Don’t study cripples.

  5. More Maslow • Devised a holistic theory - look at people as whole, functioning organisms • Skinner deprived his rats & pigeons, then made inferences from their behavior to humans • What if we had everything we needed ? • A truly human motivation would emerge, a progression towards fulfillment.

  6. The hierarchy • An organization from the most necessary needs to those we turn to when the others are satisfied • Appealing • Widely applied • But little evidence • Some ignore levels

  7. The self-actualized • Initially, based upon two of his favorite instructors • Achieve qualities that must be developed • A path more than a goal • “What a man can do, he must do.”

  8. What it takes • To perceive reality accurately • To be independent & creative • To solve problems • To accept yourself • To have a sense of humor • To enjoy life

  9. who qualifies? • Eleanor Roosevelt • Gandhi • Jefferson • Lincoln • So few, changed from a destination to a path.

  10. How would you know? • Peak experiences – moments when you feel truly fulfilled, content and at peace • Your powers and abilities come together in an intensely enjoyable way • “Flow experiences”

  11. Carl Rogers 1902-1987 • Conservative background • Postconventional experiences at Madison • A career blessed with success • Continuous work as a therapist – 15 to 20 hrs/week for decades

  12. A new type of therapy • Rogers enjoyed consistent success in therapy • Needed a theory to explain this • Person connected theory – to see everything from the patient’s perspective • A common sense, easy to understand approach to mental illness and the therapist/patient relationship

  13. fundamentals • We are rational – but we don’t always act that way • We are aware, we know what we want • We have a self-concept which filters our perceptions • Everything is fine if our self-concept lines up with reality • If not, trouble

  14. The prize • We all have an actualizing tendency • We are engaged in a life-long struggle to reach our potential • The problem is defensiveness • The solution/goal is Openness to Experience, living life for the moment, trusting our instincts • Sound familiar? Remember the Big 5?

  15. Another view • Rev. John S. Dunne – expert on “life paths” • John Paul’s designee • How do you live your life? • Two options

  16. The search for certainty • Do you live your life trying to confirm and establish to yourself and others that you “are” what you hold most dear? • The smartest? The hippest? • The sexiest? Someone’s significant other? • The best athlete? • The “best” at anything?

  17. The inevitable frustration of yearning for certainty. • If your life is a never-ending battle to live up to such a standard, don’t expect to ever be at peace. • Times, circumstances, and people change.

  18. Instead … • Look at your life as a “Quest forDiscovery.” • In the future, somewhere else, you might not have the status or position you crave. • Don’t despair. Be ready. Don’t limit yourself. • Be open to experience the unexpected possibilities this chaotic but wonderful world offers you.

  19. Therapy essentials • A Rogerian therapist must: 1) Be genuine; 2) Exhibit unconditional positive regard for their patients – don’t judge; 3) Be sympathetic, empathetic and understanding. • Let them solve their own problems • Reflect the patient’s content and feeling

  20. But …. • Would this style of therapy work for everyone? • Rogers dealt with a narrow range of clients: young attractive verbal/intelligent social • All self referred.